Saturday, March 28, 2015

Saturday, March 28, 2015 — Monkeys with a View


I found the top half of today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvonto be virtually a write-in. The bottom half, on the other hand, required a bit of thought.

The monkeys in today's puzzle provide a view — no matter how you approach them — that is rather disconcerting.

I invite you to leave a comment to let us know how you fared with the puzzle.

Solution to Today's Puzzle

Falcon's Experience
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- yet to be solved

Legend: "*" anagram; "~" sounds like; "<" letters reversed

"( )" letters inserted; "_" letters deleted; "†" explicit in the clue

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (& lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//).


4a   Talk aimlessly /with/ Ron, taking stroll (6,2)

R(AMBLE) ON — RON (†) containing (taking) AMBLE (stroll)

8a   Sit across // street right before puzzle (8)

ST|R|ADDLE — ST (street) + R (right) + (before) ADDLE (puzzle)

9a   Backing in, scold // idiot (6)

NI<|TWIT — reversal (backing) of IN + TWIT (scold)

10a   Average jousting weapon, /in/ a manner of speaking (8)

PAR|LANCE — PAR (average; especially in golf) + LANCE (jousting weapon)

11a   Fat-covered pig // left on a ship (8)

LAR(BOAR)D — BOAR (pig) contained in (covered [by]) FAT (lard)

12a   Class parties // one ruins with changes (8)

REUNIONS* — anagram (with changes) of ONE RUINS

14a   National symbol on // wine container (6)

FLAG|ON — FLAG (national symbol) + ON (†)

16a   Greek deity // ate his bananas (6)

HESTIA* — anagram (bananas) of ATE HIS

In Greek mythology, Hestia[3,4,11] is the goddess of the hearth, daughter of Cronus and Rhea. Her counterpart in Roman mythology is Vesta.

17a   Country’s // history, unwritten (8)

PAST|ORAL — PAST (history) + ORAL (unwritten)

A bit sneaky, this one, with the 's being part of the definition!

19a   Tennis star agreed with love // message on a wall (8)

GRAF|FIT|O — GRAF (tennis star; German tennis player Steffi Graf) + FIT (agreed with) + O (love)

Steffi Graf[5] is German tennis player; full name Stefanie Maria Graf. She was ranked top women’s player at the age of 16 and won her seventh Wimbledon singles title in 1996.

In tennis, squash, and some other sports, love[5] is a score of zero or nil ⇒ love fifteen. The resemblance of a zero written as a numeral (0) to the letter O leads to the cryptic crossword convention of the word "love" being used to clue this letter.

Graffito is the singular form of the plural noun graffiti[5].

21a   Tie // game taken in by fuzz (8)

LI(GAME)NT — GAME (†) contained in (taken in by) LINT (fuzz)

23a   Submit // metal-clad vessel (4,2)

T(URN) IN — URN (vessel) contained in (clad [in]) TIN (metal)

24a   Writer MacLeod // preferred guests with distinctive quality (8)

ALIST|AIR — A LIST (preferred guests) + (with) AIR (distinctive quality)

Alistair MacLeod[7] (1936–2014) was a Canadian novelist, short story writer and academic. His powerful and moving stories vividly evoke the beauty of Cape Breton Island's rugged landscape and the resilient character of many of its inhabitants, the descendants of Scottish immigrants, who are haunted by ancestral memories and who struggle to reconcile the past and the present. MacLeod has been praised for his verbal precision, his lyric intensity and his use of simple, direct language that seems rooted in an oral tradition.

Although he is known as a master of the short story, MacLeod's 1999 novel No Great Mischief was voted Atlantic Canada's greatest book of all time. The novel also won several literary prizes including the 2001 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

25a   Man and wife’s // island group (8)

HE|BRIDE|S — HE (man) + (and) BRIDE (woman) + S ('s)

The Hebrides[5] is a group of about 500 islands off the northwestern coast of Scotland. The Inner Hebrides include the islands of Skye, Mull, Jura, Islay, Iona, Coll, Eigg, Rhum, Staffa, and Tiree. The Little Minch separates this group from the Outer Hebrides, which include the islands of Lewis and Harris, North and South Uist, Benbecula, Barra, and the isolated St Kilda group.


1d   A flirt // in a moment of relaxation (2,4)

A|T EASE — A (†) + TEASE (flirt)

2d   Stealing wrong // catch phrases (3,5)

{TAG LINES}* — anagram (wrong) of STEALING

3d   Norse god/’s/ patch of moodiness (4)

_ODIN_ — hidden in (patch of) moODINess

In Scandinavian mythology, Odin[5] (also Woden or Wotan) is the supreme god and creator, god of victory and the dead. Wednesday is named after him.

4d   Staggers around five // parties (6)

RE(V)ELS — REELS (staggers) containing (around) V ([Roman numeral for] five)

5d   Male of our species trains // monkeys (9)

MAN|DRILLS — MAN (male of our species) + DRILLS (trains)

The mandrill[5] is a large West African baboon with a red and blue face, the male having a blue rump.

6d   Drunk after starting // game of chance (5)

_LOTTO — [B]LOTTO (drunk) with the initial letter removed (after starting [initial letter])

7d   Awfully moronic // character of Greece (7)

OMICRON* — anagram (awfully) of MORONIC

Omicron[5] is the fifteenth letter of the Greek alphabet (Ο, ο).

13d   Having a view // restricted, in back of ring (9)

O|PINIONED — PINIONED (restricted) following (in back of) O ([letter that looks like a] ring)

15d   Greek mantras about gathered // reinforcements (8)

GR|OM(MET)S — GR (Greek) + OMS (mantras) containing (about) MET (gathered)

Om[5] is a mystic syllable, considered the most sacred mantra in Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism. It appears at the beginning and end of most Sanskrit recitations, prayers, and texts.

16d   Said, “The woman’s outfit /is/ hairy” (7)

{HIR|SUTE}~ — sounds like (said) {HER (the woman's) + SUIT (outfit)}

17d   Dances // while following the eleventh U.S. president (6)

POLK|AS — AS (while) following (†) POLK (the eleventh U.S. president)

James Knox Polk[5] (1795–1849) was an American Democratic statesman, 11th President of the US 1845-9. His term of office resulted in major territorial additions to the US: Texas was admitted to the Union in 1845 and conflict with Mexico resulted in the annexation of California and the south-west two years later.

18d   I need a terribly // long poem (6)

AENEID* — anagram (terribly) of I NEED A

The Aeneid[5] is a Latin epic poem in twelve books by Virgil which relates the travels and experiences of Aeneas after the fall of Troy.

20d   Superior // punisher (5)

FINER — double definition

22d   Smile, /with/ hard work not quite finished (4)

GRIN_ — GRIN[D] (hard work) with the final letter removed (not quite finished)


The title of today's blog is inspired by 5d and 13d.
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - (Collins English Dictionary)
[5]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
[6]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
[7]   - Wikipedia
[8]   - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
[9]   - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10] - (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon


  1. OMG! Do you think Emily and Henry heard me last week? Because this week's puzzle is certainly more wicked. 16A and 19A. Who knew? And 21A was cute.
    I was sure this week's inspired title would be about Greek Islands or maybe short letters...
    Falcon, in case no one has said it lately, thanks loads for your dedication and effort in getting these to us day after day. I only do the weekend E&H editions, but it is something I look forward to.
    Henry (the other Henry)

    1. Henry,

      Thank you for leaving a comment. It is always gratifying to hear from readers to find out what they like -- or don't like -- about the blog.

      Emily & Henry ceased building their puzzles around a theme quite some time ago -- which left me in a quandary when it came to putting a title to my writing. I compensated by concocting a title "inspired" by words in the solution to the puzzle. I use symmetrical pairs of solutions (this week 13d and 5d). I avoid using the words from the solution itself, instead using either words from the clues or synonyms. The title can serve as a further hint to the selected clues. Thus, "Monkeys with a View" suggests OPINIONED MANDRILLS.

      Another title that I was considering this week was "Get-togethers in the Country" or PASTORAL REUNIONS. However, "Monkeys with a View" won out as it also provided an additional ASS-pect.

  2. Okay, that is the ugliest mammal I've ever seen.

    I hope you simply pasted that paean to Alistair MacLeod and that it doesn't represent your personal assessment of his work. Macleod taught creative writhing during his working life, while turning out one short story every couple of years. Aside from this students and readers of literary journals, no one knew he existed. Finally, in his sixties, he birthed his magnum opus. Which I actually tried to read. Gave up after fifty pages of lyrical bombast. OMG, what a waste of trees and shelf space.

    1. Hi Richard,
      I have to confess to never having read any of Alistair MacLeod's work. From your description, it is likely just as well.

  3. Hey, did anybody notice that this puzzle isn't square?

    1. Hi Billy Goat,

      Welcome to the blog. You obviously have a good eye. The non-standard grid dimensions totally bypassed me.

      I would guess that this may be an April Fool's joke by the setters.

  4. Re Alistair MacLeod, after 10 years of books, our book club out No Great Mischief at the top of its favourites list.

    Re 21A was a clear & easy solve from the cryptic side, but isn't "tie" wrong? Isn't a "tie" a "ligature"? A ligament holds a joint together.

    As always, nice to tackle the Saturday puzzle rather than the weekday DT puzzles with all their Briticisms. It's almost as if it's a different language. & world over there.


    1. That's "put" No Great Mischief at the top of its favourites list. - Frank